Wasabi targets surveillance video with ‘bottomless’ cloud storage service
Wasabi Technologies Inc. today expanded into the physical security market with a version of its cloud storage service customized for digital video.
The Boston-based firm, which closed $250 million in new funding last fall, said its “bottomless” storage option is aimed at the surveillance industry, which is struggling to manage the requirements of high-resolution cameras that can consume up to 40 megabytes of storage for every minute of video. The storage crunch is magnified for businesses that are subject to mandatory retention requirements or that need to upgrade their equipment to handle high-end uses such as facial recognition.
Wasabi said upgrading on-premises infrastructure to handle archival videos that can total 100 terabytes or more is neither practical nor economical for many companies.
Its new Surveillance Cloud is a hybrid storage environment that uses software running on a local Windows PC to offload infrequently accessed video from onsite servers directly to Wasabi cloud storage. The software works continuously in the background and is transparent to the user, said David Boland, Wasabi’s vice president of cloud strategy. Video can be retrieved in milliseconds and users have web video features such as random access and fast-forwarding.
“As soon a video file is captured and closed, we can either make a copy and move it to the cloud or move the original to the cloud and leave behind a shim file with a header that says where the data is located,” Boland said. Header information in the file indicates which device generated the data and color coding tells whether the file is local or in the cloud.
Chief Executive David Friend said the service is intended to be nearly transparent to users. “People who are used to storing their videos on Windows-based machines don’t have to change anything,” he said. “This will automatically make your local machine appear to be bottomless.”
Wasabi has built interfaces to equipment from the 20 largest video management system providers. “After giving us the cold shoulder for the first three or four years, the manufacturers have seen that customers don’t see a lot of advantage in owning their own hardware and the margins are pretty lousy anyway,” Boland said. “They want to get out of the business of hardware and focus on the functionality inherent in the VMSes.”
More than 1 billion surveillance cameras are in use today with artificial intelligence increasingly being employed to monitor them because there aren’t enough humans to do so, he said.
The service is being offered at a flat price of $10.99 per terabyte per month, which is nearly double Wasabi’s $5.99 base price. The premium is justified by the value of the provided on-premises software, Boland said.
Friend said he uses the Windows software on his own personal computer, which has “only 256 gigabytes of storage but three or four terabytes that appear to be there.” Accessing the cloud video files “might take a half second but you don’t have to wait for the whole file to come back,” he said. “It’ll start streaming immediately.”
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